How to push past your self-imposed limitations and achieve your goals

How far one goes in life is highly dependent on their ability to overcome the obstacles life throws in their way.

Everyone has dreams and ambitions, but only some are able to achieve them. Have you wondered why? More often than not, we tend to give up amid difficulties, accept the status quo, and feel reluctant to take that next step forward. In such cases, we hit a roadblock after reaching our self-imposed limits. When we attempt to overcome them, we may even face stiff resistance, and our goals seem harder to achieve. These limitations come in different forms such as fear, doubt, or low self-esteem. They force us to think negatively about ourselves and doubt our abilities. They hold us back from realising our true potential.

When an individual sets a limit on their capacity, they rarely go beyond them. Imagine if tennis legend Roger Federer had called it quits due to his age, he never would have won the 20th Grand Slam. He pushed past the limitations of age and claimed the trophy at the age of 36. His success story teaches us that we can conquer new frontiers if we consciously step outside the confines of our self-imposed limitations.

In the words of eminent author and motivational speaker Brian Tracy, “You begin to fly when you let go of self-limiting beliefs and allow your mind and aspirations to rise to greater heights.” Wondering how you can soar high by moving past the hurdles of self-limitations? These practical tips may help you attain that goal like a champion.

Do not compare yourself to others

Comparing yourself to others is a futile exercise that does nothing but increases your dissatisfaction, lowers your self-esteem, and make you feel bad about yourself. What you are essentially doing is comparing your flaws with others’ strengths, which makes you think that they are better than you. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Everyone has their own battles to fight and goals to accomplish. When you compare yourself to others, get a clearer picture of what they have gone through to be where they are today. Redirect the focus on yourself and believe that you have the ability to overcome your own self-imposed limitations. Like leadership expert and author Robin Sharma once said, “Stop comparing yourself to others. You’ve been built to dazzle. And designed to inspire.”

Stop making assumptions

This is one of the biggest mistakes people make, which prevents them from overcoming their self-imposed limitations and achieving their goals. Unless you have the magical ability to read people’s minds, you can’t know what they are really thinking.

How many times have you assumed what the other person is thinking, and concluded without asking or telling them? Such behaviours lead to misunderstandings and can even hamper your relationships with others. In his book, The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom, author Don Miguel Ruiz gives an excellent piece of advice. He writes, “Don’t make assumptions. Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.”

Surround yourself with positive people

If your inner voice often berates you with negative thoughts like ‘I am not good enough,’ or ‘I can’t do anything in life’, then perhaps it is time to take a deeper look at the people you hang out with. Ask yourself how do you feel when you are around them. Do they encourage and support you or vice versa? Are you able to express yourself freely or your opinions are often shot down?

A study on how an individual’s social network affects their happiness levels found that “individuals who associate themselves with cheerful people have a happier demeanour and consequently a better sense of wellbeing.” Thus, you need to let go of the people who doubt you and make you feel that you are not good enough. Spend time with positive people who can motivate you to become the best version of yourself.

Improve your self-image

Self-image is the perception of how an individual views themselves. The lower the self-image, the lower the expectations we have from ourselves. This can restrict us from unlocking our true potential. You can counter this negative attitude by using positive affirmations to boost your confidence, rewarding yourselves when you achieve a target, regardless of its size, and eliminating self-criticism so you can make room for self-compassion. When how you view yourself changes, you will learn to appreciate yourselves. Ultimately, this will give you the strength to push past your self-imposed limitations.

Work on your shortcomings

We all have areas where we excel and areas that we need to improve. Self-imposed beliefs stop us from recognising those areas of improvement. It keeps us in our bubble and tricks us into believing that we can’t accomplish our goals. To overcome these limitations, you need to identify your shortcomings and work to eliminate them. To be clear, working on shortcomings isn’t about pursuing perfection or indulging in self-criticism. It’s about challenging yourself to become more productive by eliminating those habits and beliefs that hinder you from harnessing your abilities to achieve the desired target.

Keep your mind open to new things

If you want to overcome your self-imposed limitations, keep your mind open to new things, accept new ideas, and try different approaches. This will help you get out of your comfort zone and gain new experiences, which will help you grow as a person. As entrepreneur Richard Branson in his book Screw It, Let’s Do It: Lessons in Life says, “If you opt for a safe life, you will never know what it’s like to win.” You no longer have to hide behind excuses if you fail because you will learn to see opportunities everywhere, and take responsibility for your successes.

Have clarity on your goals

When you have clarity on your goals, you will be motivated to achieve them. When you know what you need to do, you will have no problem figuring out the direction to get there. However, most of the time, people procrastinate, and thus, fail to achieve favourable results. You might know where you are and where you were, but to achieve success, you also need to know where you need to go. Goal-achievement coach Kristin Burke says, “The clearer you are about the goal you want to achieve, the more consistent you can be with the activity needed to achieve the goal. You’re able to more easily identify your priorities and align your schedule to fit those priorities.”


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